Laguna Beach

 Volume 14, Issue 7  |  January 25, 2022

OC Chef’s Table 2019 promises most amazing chefs yet 


These last few days, I’ve been immersed in what is certainly one of the most enjoyable aspects of my life – interviewing chefs. Forty-two of them, actually. 

For the second year in a row, I have the pleasure of working with the Illumination Foundation and their renowned “OC Chef’s Table” for their March 3, 2019 date. 

Once again hosted by proud sponsor Disneyland® Resort, the event has gained so quickly in popularity that Illumination Foundation had to move to the resort’s largest ballroom in Anaheim to accommodate their growing number of chefs.

OC Chefs scallops

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Illumination Foundation

OC Chef’s Table brings the highest-ranked chefs together to raise funds for Illumination Foundation

This year in March, my marketing agency team and I were able to help just a few weeks in advance of the 2018 event. What Illumination Foundation is doing to break the cycle of homelessness – and what these chefs and attendees are doing to support their cause – had quite an impact. I immediately asked how my marketing agency could get even more involved. 

New website, deserved spotlight

With a goal to spotlight these top-flight chefs over next four months leading to the event, my team and I have boosted a new website – – and I’m in the process of calling each and every one of these chefs for initial interviews. 

Chefs are such amazing people. They’re crazy-passionate and beyond devoted to a working life that would flatten most of us. They’re on purpose and happy, and they love talking about food. As I complete one interview after the next, I find the chefs involved in OC Chef’s Table 2019 to be the most engaging and interesting humans, all of whom have great senses of humor and not a shred of arrogance.

OC Chefs cocktails

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Photo by Illumination Foundation

OC Chef’s Table is an extraordinary event of culinary fun, from drinks to dessert

They talk about the life-changing experience they’ve felt in the OC Chef’s Table room, and I’m quite sure the feeling is mutual in the guests who enjoy their 5-course flights of fancy.

Celebrity & award-winning chefs galore

This coming year, Food Network’s Celebrity Chef Jet Tila will be returning. Aside from growing roles on Iron Chef and a number of other FN shows, Chef Jet tells me he has a new cookbook coming out in March, and his five-course menu will be built from recipes housed therein. (And, he’s bringing his pastry chef wife, Ali, along to supply the fifth course. Yum.)

Napa Rose’s award-winning Chef Andrew Sutton is again Disneyland® Resort’s host chef for the event. He’s been instrumental in helping us gather chefs for the event and has already begun fielding questions as the chefs consider their menus.

L.A.’s renowned Rose Café asked to be involved this year, and Chef Jason Neroni says he’s looking forward to the Anaheim trek as he actually began his culinary career 25 years ago making Monte Cristo sandwiches for the Blue Bayou at Disneyland® Resort.   

The Farmhouse’s iconic Rich Mead is returning (he’s done so many giant tables for 150 and 250 guests at a time that a 10-top of guests should prove quite the relaxing evening for him), and Chef Bryan Brown with Monarch Beach Resort’s award-wining Bourbon Steak will be welcomed as a newbie. 

Returning Chef Michal Rossi from The Ranch is just heading out to Tazmania for a week-long visit, and plans to bring some new ideas back for his own OC Chef’s Table menu. 

Famed Anaheim speakeasy (if you can find it!) Blind Rabbit has its new chef, Peter Lai, already planning a “tableside event,” while great names and faces from the exclusive Club 33, CATAL, Filomena’s Habana, Mastro’s Ocean Club, Mastro’s Steakhouse, Red O, Summit House and more will be returning, too. 

Laguna Beach surprises, too

From Laguna Beach, we have three new surprise entries – Starfish Laguna will be spotlighting their new chef (an exquisite find, I might add).

OC Chefs Greg Daniels

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Illumination Foundation

New Laguna Chef Greg Daniel will be representing his new restaurant, Harley

Our newest chef extraordinaire, Greg Daniels, will be featuring menu items from what will THEN be the existing Harley restaurant. 

And, likely one of the more interesting chef stories – recently returned Chef Maro Molteni is flying his brother Martin in to partner as a duo for their table of guests. As it turns out, Chef Martin Molteni is a celebrity chef in Argentina and, in fact, is known worldwide after achieving first-place honors in Bocuse d’Or, the most prestigious gastronomic competition in the world. 

What Laguna Chefs would YOU recommend?

Do I want more Laguna Beach chefs in this March 2019 spotlight? Absolutely. I have hopes that a couple more will step forward before the IF reaches their maximum number of 45 chefs. (You chefs know how to reach me, but just in case: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..) 

The interviews are extraordinary, and I’ll be posting them as quickly as I can at the site. Watch, too, in my Best of Laguna Beach social media platforms for updates on seasonal menus and in-restaurant events you’re going to want to calendar. Welcome to the coolest chefs around! I know you’ll enjoy getting to know them as much as I have.

The website also offers more information on the Illumination Foundation’s unique success story, as well as ticketing and sponsorships available. What a great cause for a great organization – and a great evening in March ahead!

Diane Armitage is the best-selling author of the book, The Best of Laguna Beach, and offers a cornucopia of Laguna based reviews, finds and upcoming events at her blog,

Lana Johnson, Editor - [email protected]

Tom Johnson, Publisher - [email protected]

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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